Businesses waste a lot of money, but not in the places that you think. Most of the money we waste is invisible. It’s baked into the tiny inefficiencies that we repeat ten or a hundred times a day. And it adds up.
Here are the top 4 reasons why you need to bracket some time soon to document your most common processes. It’s not just money you’ll be saving.
We fulfill hundreds of processes daily. On the simple side, we make coffee, get the mail, and send invoices. On the complex side, we generate reports and organize events.
Think of a process that you often repeat in your business. Now think about how that process started. I’ll bet my bottom dollar that it wasn’t planned: it just began. And even though it takes up a good percentage of someone’s time, chances are that no one really thought about whether there’s a better way to do it.
As soon as we focus on a process, we start to expose waste. We ask the questions we never have before, about what parts are redundant, outdated, unnecessary or don’t add any value.
But the level of focus that you need doesn’t come from a casual across-the-desk chat. It comes from getting around the whiteboard, turning off the phones, and zeroing in.
Start simple. Bag a win to build confidence for you and your team before moving to the complex processes. Choose 2-3 that you do most often and get ready to map them out.
The boss cannot ordain, delegate, or order Continuous Improvement to happen. It comes from empowering the troops day in and day out; that’s why it’s more of a cultural than a procedural change.
To zero in on a process, pull all the stakeholders involved with that process into the room. Everyone who touches it has a say.
You can get into the actual process mapping symbols if you want, but don’t let it overwhelm you. All you need is your team, with a unified sense of focus.
Write down every step of the process, no matter how small, in sequential order. Put the name (or position) responsible for each step as you go. Don’t rush this. If it takes two hours for one process, then play it out.
Once every step is staring you in the face, ask the team how to save money by making it more efficient. At that moment, they will know that their feedback matters.
Every one of these inefficiencies is a waste-mosquito sucking a tiny bit of money off your bottom line. And, it all adds up fast.
From here, your team will have a fire under them. Use this momentum to ensure that the rest of the meeting is about reworking your new, efficient processes and blending them into your daily habits.
It costs a lot to train someone. Hopefully, they have many of the raw skills you need on day one, but the investment comes in shaping their habits and those of your business culture.
Documented processes are a shortcut to training. When your new employee starts, these documented processes make it easy to give them the materials that will tell them step by step how to dive into your business’s most common workflows.
Eliminating waste isn’t about cutting corners: it’s about finding value. Unite your team toward finding the little things that leak time and money every day, and everyone wins.